View Full Version : Strange Glass Cubes
01-24-2001, 10:15 AM
At a gift store downtown they have some fascinating little table ornaments on display. The ornaments are made of glass and shaped like a cube. One corner of the cube has been taken off so that the ornament stands on end. The interesting thing is, inside the cube there's a highly detailed, translucent, three dimensional image of some animal. A close inspection of the image reveaed that it appears to be made from very tiny air bubbles in the glass.
My question is this- Does anyone have any idea how this ornament was made? I've never seen anything like it before, though that may simply be because I don't go to many gift stores. The image is nicely detailed, and there doesn't appear to be any sort of foreign matter in the cube other than the air bubbles. The material felt like glass but I suppose it could have been something that looks and feels similar.
Thanks for any info that you can provide.
01-24-2001, 11:08 AM
Originally posted by Pyrrho12
The ornaments are made of glass and shaped like a cube. One corner of the cube has been taken off so that the ornament stands on end. The interesting thing is, inside the cube there's a highly detailed, translucent, three dimensional image of some animal. A close inspection of the image reveaed that it appears to be made from very tiny air bubbles in the glass.
I've seen things similar to what you're describing. In the ones that I've seen (mostly in a musical motif, IIRC), the image that is "inside" the glass is really just etched on the "cut off" corner, and only appears to be in the middle of the glass.
01-24-2001, 11:15 AM
Way back in junior high school, I took a plastics class. One of the projects I worked on involved pouring small, incremental quantities of plastic into a mold. The technique was useful for encasing delicate objects like flowers without warping or distorting them. Are you sure that what you saw was glass and not highly polished acrylic or lucite? I imagine it would be fairly easy to inject small air bubbles into each layer of plastic as it dries. Just a thought...
01-24-2001, 11:36 AM
Step 1 - Have glassmaker create a small, three dimensional image of an animal. Use glass containing lots of bubbles and give the animal a frosted appearance.
Step 2 - Suspend glass animal in mold.
Step 3 - Fill mold with clear glass.
Just a swag. There is a good chance that evilhanz is right and you are looking at lucite (it's clearer than glass) but the same principle could be used there as well.
01-24-2001, 11:42 AM
Grither- I've seen the type of etching you describe, and this wasn't it. I picked up the cube and examined it from different angles, so I'm pretty sure that this wasn't something etched onto the side. My description of the shape of it might not have been so clear in the OP...
evilhanz- That's a very good idea, and sounds like it could very well be how this object was created.
Thank you both!
01-24-2001, 01:31 PM
1. Get cube of glass/arcylic/whatever.
2. Use two lasers pointed at the cube, one from the top and one side.
3. Strength of laser should be set so that one laser alone doesn't heat the glass/plastic enough to melt it, but two lasers focused at the same point will.
4. Have computer control lasers to produce bubbles in cube by selectively melting little dots.
This link seem to describe a similar process:
01-24-2001, 01:33 PM
This link describes the process in greater detail. Apparently they only use one laser, not the two I WAGed about:
01-25-2001, 08:09 AM
tanstaafl and MinkMan- thanks for taking the time to answer. I followed the links you provided, MinkMan, and I think that's quite possibly how the cubes were done.
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